Although working in certain occupations brings an increased risk of violence and aggression, taken nationally the risk of becoming a victim of an assault or threat of violence at work is actually quite low.

Findings from the 2019/20 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) showed:

  • An estimated 1.4% of men and women were victims of violence at work once or more during the year prior to their interview.
  • An estimated 307,000 adults of working age in employment experienced violence at work at least once.
  • There were an estimated 688,000 incidents of violence at work, comprising of 299,000 assaults and 389,000 threats. This compares to an estimated 739,000 incidents in 2018/19.
  • An estimated 60% of work-place violence offenders were strangers to the victim. Among the 40% of incidents where the offender was known, they were most likely to be clients, or a member of the public known through work.
  • The survey found 62% per cent of violence at work resulted in no physical injury. Of the remaining 38% of cases, injuries described as severe bruising, or minor bruising or a black eye accounted for the majority of the injuries recorded.
  • 12% of violent incidents resulted in more serious injury  including, stab wounds, broken bones, nose bleeds, broken nose, broken, lost or chipped teeth, dislocation, concussion or loss of consciousness, internal injuries, facial or head injuries or other injuries.

There is large variation in the risks at work across occupational groups.

Those working in protective service occupations (such as security officers) face the highest risk by far of experiencing workplace violence, at 8.4% – that’s 6 times the average risk of 1.4% across all occupations.

Check out the Violence Against Security Blog!

Health and social care associate professionals and health professionals are also at higher than average risk at 3.9% and 3.3% respectively.

Nearly one in every ten workers in the UK is employed in the retail trade and for them the risk of encountering threats and abuse is increasing year on year.

The British Retail Crime Survey 2021 showed an estimated 165,000 violent incidents occurred during 2019-20 (that’s about one every minute of a nine hour average shopping day) and that was up from 126,000 the previous year.

Other professions with higher risk include Clergy, Taxi Drivers, Road Workers, Waste Collection Workers, Delivery Agents and anyone whose work involves dealing with the public.